When there is nothing to do at work…

Every now and then, you’ll experience a slowdown in your workplace, and it is at this time where some of you might wonder, “What to do when there is nothing to do at work?”

Many spend their free time surfing the Internet, such as checking their social media, going online shopping and watching YouTube videos for recreation.

However, if you’re working towards a successful career growth, you’ll need to take advantage of your slow workdays by doing things that are useful and productive to you.

Here are some beneficial activities that you can occupy yourself with during your free time at work:

Volunteer yourself

If you find that once you’ve completed your tasks and are quite free until the next project lands in your lap, one of the best ways to make yourself stand out in the eyes of your superiors is to volunteer
to help out on other ongoing projects.

In some situations, there may not be that many opportunities for you to join ongoing projects but if the opportunity does arise, look at it as a way to improve your skills and add to your experience rather than as an additional burden on your work day.

Improve your capability

Whether you’re enhancing your current knowledge/skills or learning some new ones, improving your capability not only makes you a better employee, but also
increases your value in the job market.

There are many ways to go about this.

For example, you can read articles, watch educational videos or take up free online courses related to your field of work or to a new area of interest.

Build online presence

More job recruiters are searching for job candidates on the Internet, which is why it is very important for you to ensure that you can stand out amidst a highly competitive job
market through your online presence.

A solid online presence showcases skills, experience and passion, thereby giving credibility for potential employers to see and boosting your network as more people connect with you.

If you’ve yet to build a professional one, you can start off by developing your own personal website/portfolio, opening a professional social media account or creating your own content.

Review your job performance

Your slowdown at work can also be spent on reflecting on how you have performed at your current employment so far.

Ask yourself questions like “What kind of assignments have I been undertaking so far?”, “Have I done well in them?”, “Do I feel that I need to take on more challenging ones?” and many others.

Make sure that you follow through with actions that should be taken based on your work review.

Plan your next move

Since your mind isn’t preoccupied with work, you’ll have some time to plan what you intend to do in the next few years of your career and life.

If you find that you’re about to go through a slowdown for several days, list down tasks that you can do throughout these days to keep yourself from being idle.

Always keep in mind though that not having much work to do in the office could signal that your company may be going through a business slump and in the worst case scenario if could mean a restructuring may also be in the cards.

So always make sure that you bring value to your company even in the slow days and more importantly be prepared for uncertainties especially when the overall economy is not doing so well.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2G7gGUx

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

School leavers – things to keep in mind

After spending years on completing a formal education, you’ve finally left school.

So now you may be thinking, what’s next?

Moving on to the next step seems like the hardest thing to do as most of you might still be clueless as to what to do in the future.

Here are some things you should consider now that you’re a fresh school leaver.

Explore new environments

Education goes beyond the four walls of a classroom. Among the skills that students do not get to learn in the classroom includes social skills in different environments.

So, it is important for you to make your own discoveries and develop these skills in new environments such as in part-time jobs, internships, and if possible touring universities.

Venturing into new environments outside your comfort zone can be intimidating.

However, experiencing new environments will be rewarding in the long-run.

Make new friends

After graduating from school, naturally you and your friends will go your separate ways.

Some might pursue higher education, while some might choose to take a year off before deciding on what to do next and others may enter the workforce.

Whatever your plan is, it’s always good to meet new people and make new friends outside
of your network of school friends.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to keep in touch with your school friends because it’s too easy to drift apart.

Your school friends may be some of the most meaningful relationships you could have, and could also last the longest.

Talk to more people

It is normal to not know what you want to do after graduation and that is okay since you have a long way to figure it out.

For this, try to talk to more people from different professions and fields.

Their experience might provide you with some insight on what you might want to do as a career.

Learn to save money

Saving money may not be high on your list of priorities right now, especially since you’re probably not earning anything at the moment.

However, it’s crucial that you start to make saving a habit as it will definitely help you throughout your life; whether in college, at your first job and beyond.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2PeD5i0Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

School holidays ‘to-do’ list

For the students among you, after months of classes and exams, the year-end break has finally arrived.

Many of us tend to spend the school holidays catching up on TV shows and movies, play games, hang out with friends or simply laze around at home.

However, there are actually productive things to do during those weeks.

In fact, with so much free time at hand, you can pick up a new hobby or skill, or even prepare yourself for further studies by visiting education fairs.

Here are a few of the many other ways to spend your school holidays:

Gain new knowledge

There are things in this world that you may not even be aware of because you’ve been concentrating so much on your studies, and therefore the school holidays is a great time to expand your horizon.

You can go to your old school to read books and magazines, as well as talking to people who are knowledgeable in your subject of interest.

And thanks to the World Wide Web, you can explore articles, documentaries and numerous other educational materials online.

Although it can be tricky navigating through countless online information, it would help if you focus on a few topics that you’re most interested in learning more about.

Travel

When it comes to travel, you should seriously consider your ‘backyard’ as your next destination, especially when it’s a road less travelled.

If flying overseas is out of the question, Malaysia alone has so many to offer in terms of things to see and do, which, lest we forget, other people fly halfway around the world to experience.

The same goes for travelling within our home Sarawak, which is internationally known for its culture, adventure and nature tourism.

As we’ve mentioned before, you can gain invaluable experience by travelling regardless of the destination; from improving creativity and communication to broadening life values and perspectives.

Work part-time

The school holidays can be an opportune time for you to learn financial independence and gain work experience, which will be beneficial when you apply for a full-time position in the future.

Having a part time job also tests your ability to manage time, in terms of adapting and adhering to a work schedule.

Additionally, you’ll be able to build your network through colleagues you’ll encounter at your workplace.

Improve your health

If you haven’t been taking good care of yourself throughout your studies, the school holidays would be the best time to start practising a healthier lifestyle.

Eat healthily, exercise regularly and make sure you get enough sleep; then ensure that you carry on this lifestyle by the time you go back to school or enter into college.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2BywagdFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Some DON’Ts to remember before exams

The exam weeks are finally here!

Students around the country may either feel anxious to get it over with or embrace it with anticipation because you have been preparing for it for months.

During this tough time, each student may develop their own study techniques and strategies.

However, we felt that we should also remind students of the things they should definitely avoid at this point in time.

DON’T use social media

Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are fun but they can also be distracting, especially when you are trying to focus.

During exam weeks, do avoid them at all cost because, as you know all too well, once you stray there, it’s like entering the social media ‘black hole’.

DON’T follow other people’s study methods

When it comes to studying, everyone is wired differently.

For instance, your friend might prefer to study in a group while you prefer to be alone with your headphones. So, don’t feel pressured to follow others.

It is important that you feel comfortable while studying so that you can be more focused and ready to take on the tests.

DON’T stay up late

If you think studying all night without getting a good night’s sleep will get you high marks, you better think again.

Pulling an all-nighter before taking an exam is not a good idea because the chances of you recalling what you have learned are low.

So, do get a proper night’s sleep because your brain needs a rest too.

DON’T eat junk food

For most, it is easy to turn to food as a way to unwind and destress. However, you might want to keep the stress eating under control by not taking too much junk food while studying.

Instead, opt for healthier options such as fruits and nuts.

And while we are in the subject of food, do try to avoid consuming too much caffeine and energy drinks.

DON’T panic

Last, but definitely not least, do not panic because the more you panic, the more mistakes you will end up making.

If you stumble upon a question that totally stumps you, just move on to the next one and stay confident in your preparations.

So, good luck and all the best!

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2OQ1ydaFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Learning from your mistakes

At SarawakYES! we always emphasise the need to learn from mistakes, whether it’s for our career, education or personal growth.

Yet we live in a world where not everyone can tolerate mistakes, and many parents have been teaching their children not to slip-up, supposedly so that they don’t grow up to become incompetent or troublesome.

The truth, however, is that whether intentionally or not we all make mistakes. But it’s the way you interpret and confront yours that will eventually define you as a person.

If you read stories of accomplished individuals, you’ll find their achievements are due to their willingness and determination to learn from and overcome their mistakes.

The question then is how can you grow from your mistakes?

DO:

Acknowledge and take responsibility – This is your first step towards learning from mistakes. It can be uncomfortable at times, but your readiness to admit and be accountable can quicken the process of identifying and resolving your errors.

Perceive your mistakes as learning opportunities – This enables you to boost your self-confidence, which helps in taking more risks in the future.

Reflect on your mistakes – Whether on your own or with someone you can trust, ask honest questions about these mistakes and then find ways to ensure that you don’t repeat them.

Apologise for your mistakes if they end up affecting others – Assure the people who’ve been affected that you won’t do it again. Your apology needs to be genuine and sincere so people can recognise you for your strength, honesty and accountability.

DON’T:

Dwell on your mistakes, as it can be unproductive and stressful – Self-reflect on your mistakes, move forward and remind yourself that as long as they aren’t deliberate, there’s no harm in making mistakes.

Blame others or justify your mistakes – This won’t provide any closure to yourself or others affected. It also shows your reluctance to learn from your mistakes, which can lead to the greater possibility of repeating them in the future.

Repeat the same mistakes too many times – This may suggest you’ve yet to fully grasp lessons learnt from your mistakes or you’re not committed and disciplined enough to change for the better.

Fear making mistakes – In fact, not encountering any mistake at all can be your biggest mistake. The more you experience and overcome mistakes, the more capable you become in navigating through life, giving yourself more room for personal development.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2JVJSw5Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

How to deal with a new job task?

If you’re a graduate who just joined the workforce, you’ll find that some job tasks are nearly akin to some experience during your internship or activities in your university.

But what if you’re given a task that you’ve never handled before?

Understandably, you’ll get anxious, confused and frustrated at first from receiving a job you’re not familiar with.

However, no matter how daunting this new task might be, at the end of the day you’re given the responsibility by your employer to complete it.

So, instead of looking at it as a problem you can think of handling a new task as a good opportunity to gain new knowledge, skills and experience, especially when it gets you out of your comfort zone.

Here are some ways to deal with a new job task:

Ask around                                
Perhaps the most straightforward thing you can do is to ask.

Go up to your superior for details of the task or to an experienced colleague for suggestions.

You can also ask your family or friends who may have tackled similar work before.

In any case, asking around gives you an idea on how to accomplish the job.

At the very least, it could help you build rapport with your colleagues and superiors.

Do some research
The moment you receive your new task, begin your research immediately.

If your workplace has an archive of past works or manuals that are related to your task, you can study these materials to find out how it is usually done.

Additionally, with access to the World Wide Web, you can search online for relevant tips, tutorials or information to get your task done.

Start small
Once you have a general idea about your task, you can start off with the easy part.

Consider this a warmup to a work process you’re about to put yourself through.

It’s best not to dive into a new task with the difficult part first; otherwise you will stress yourself out and you won’t be able to meet your deadline.

Have faith in yourself
Most importantly, you need to believe in your own capability to do this new task.

As long as you put in a lot of effort and you make yourself open to constructive criticism, handling a new task builds the confidence you need to be better at your work.

And when all’s said and done, look back at the entire process and discover your strengths and weaknesses so that you can perform better the next time you’re given a comparable task.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, October 27, 2018.

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Making time for self-reflection

In a world where we’re always on the go and where we tend to get distracted by so many things (especially our mobile devices), we should pause from time to time to reflect on decisions that we’ve taken so far.

Self-reflection is our ability to analyse ourselves, especially in learning more about our own attributes, disposition, principles and purpose from our experiences, whether in school, at work or throughout life.

It involves questioning our past and present actions and habits sensibly, in terms of whether they are bringing us any closer to our overall goals and dreams.

Yet, for an ability that is essential for self-improvement, self-reflection is often ignored.

Some might find it embarrassing or a waste of time; others don’t know how it’s done or fear the results out of reflecting on themselves.

However, we can gain a lot from slowing down to take a look at ourselves. Self-reflection allows us to build self-awareness, empathy and integrity, as well as challenging our preconceptions.

And when we happen to stumble upon a problem, it lets us generate new ideas to overcome it; some of which can even lead to a change in our routine.

Most important, self-reflection gives you the worthwhile opportunity to learn, understand and accept who you are as a person and how much more you can accomplish to be better.

Always remember that in your process of self-reflection, you need to acknowledge your strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures without being overly critical with yourself.

That way, you’ll be able to determine your way forward – whether you’re capable of achieving your goals or you’re required to change your motivation towards a better path to success.

Self-reflection can be done in many ways at any time, more effectively when you do it voluntarily. Journal writing and meditation are among the most common suggestions.

You can also reflect on yourself during your daily routine, such as showering, commuting to school or office, or eating your meals without your smartphone next to you.

Talking to people like friends, family members, colleagues or counsellors would help give you a better idea about yourself too. Those who are especially honest with you can point out thoughts or issues that you might have missed in your own self-reflection.

Whichever way you decide to take, make it a point to self-reflect on a regular basis, for it takes practice and commitment to turn self-reflection into a habit.

As long as you understand the importance and long-term benefits of self-reflection, you can realise your goals and grow better without forgetting the experiences that made you who you are today.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Photo by Andre Mouton from Pexels.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Tips to studying effectively

With lots of facts to memorise and absorb, there are times when studying seems more like a chore.

Studying may appear effortless for some students, but for others the struggle is real. As you find your concentration depleting, so does your enthusiasm for learning.

However, the ability to study is something that you can train yourself to be better at. Luckily, there are creative ways to help you study and excel.

For effective studying, here are some simple and practical tips that you can apply into your usual study methods.

Create colourful diagrams

If you have a set of fancy stationery, colourful post-it notes and highlighters, now is the best time to use them as visual aids that can be helpful when revising. Also, you are more likely to use them to create your own notes and diagrams.

Producing creative drawings such as diagrams and mind maps to illustrate what you have learned not only makes revision fun, but also helps you to memorize notes better.

In addition, these drawings can motivate you to create more notes in the future for effective learning.

Choose a good place to study

One of the keys to effective studying is choosing the right place and time, and this may differ for each student.

Sometimes, a change of scenery can help in regaining your enthusiasm for studying, whether it is the local library, a coffee shop or the park.

And while some students learn better when they study somewhere more private and quiet, others concentrate better with background noise as their company.

However, if being outside is not possible, do consider studying elsewhere in your house.

Take regular breaks

Studies have found that taking a break to relax and unwind is essential for achieving productivity and a positive outlook on the future, as well as improving one’s concentration.

This may also apply for young working adults who are working long hours in front of a computer or university students who are pulling all-nighters to study.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, September 29, 2018.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Have a break

It used to be said that those who worked for long hours without any intermission were considered hardworking and productive, but that’s not really the case.

More scientific studies have shown that taking regular breaks from work can help us improve and maintain our focus, motivation, creativity, and overall productivity.

Some of them also revealed that how we take our time out matters too; and while a nap is one of the best ways to spend during our breaks, it isn’t the only one.

Thus, to avoid getting distracted and bored or experience burnout from your work, here are some other methods to consider for taking effective breaks.

Plan your break

To reap the benefits of having a work-break balance, you need to decide how often you should have them.

Some studies suggest having a ‘25/5-minute plan’ (25 minutes of working and a five-minute break, and then a longer break after four cycles), others a ‘50/10-minute plan’, or even a ‘52/17-minute plan’.

Whichever plan you find suits you the most, following it enables you to have greater focus at work, so long as you are disciplined and committed to having time for yourself.

Keep up with your reading

Reading allows you to gain more knowledge and reduce stress, among many other benefits.

Therefore, during your break, read stories that inspire you, articles that you’ve wanted to read, or even something unrelated to your work.

Magazines, books, or newspapers can do you good too, because they let you give your eyes a rest from looking at screens on your computer or mobile devices for too long.

Have a snack

Junk food like crackers or sweets might give you the immediate kick you need to work, but they won’t last long and won’t help flatter your waistline.

Instead, munch on small portions of healthy snacks such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, and dark chocolate. They not only help restore your energy and boost your brainpower, but also keep you healthier for the long haul.

Move around

Assuming that your work involves a lot of sitting or staying in one position, doing light exercises during your break allows blood and oxygen to flow in your body continuously and tight muscles to loosen.

Be it basic stretches, walks in or outside your office, or some calisthenics, these movements also help lower the likelihood of having physical aches and pains as you grow older and, most important, make you feel good.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2QiUWX0Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Why we should strive to stay fit and healthy

In our studies or career, we sometimes tend to push ourselves beyond our physical, mental and emotional limits, thinking that we’re capable of overcoming any and all challenges.

As a result, our health and wellbeing end up taking the brunt of this push, and our bodies are forced to endure stresses that can be detrimental in the long haul.

Still, it’s never too late to start our journey to become healthy and with time, patience and commitment, incorporating healthy habits into our lifestyle is attainable.

If you think that adopting a healthy lifestyle is just about trying to look good or to lose the extra weight, you should think about the bigger benefits it brings.

Gain more energy

Last year, a workplace survey conducted by AIA Vitality showed that despite working long hours, Malaysians are the least productive.

The survey found that their low productivity resulted from a lack of proper diet, exercise and sleep, as well as experiences with work-related stress.

This suggests that our performance at work and in life is dependent on our energy level accumulated from what we eat, how active we are physically, how long we sleep, and how we manage stress.

Therefore, it’s vital to take care of yourself so that you have enough energy to handle whatever tasks at hand.

Build confidence

Establishing a healthy lifestyle can involve setting goals for improvement, for instance eating certain healthy food for the first time or running at a distance further than your previous record.

Besides the physical benefits, achieving these goals will help to boost your confidence and self-esteem, thereby strengthening your mental and emotional health.

Numerous studies have also shown that having healthy habits ensure a healthy brain by reducing stress and risk of depression, plus improve learning, judgement and thinking capabilities.

Save money

Practising healthy habits boosts overall health, meaning you could lower your chances of having cardiovascular disease, hypertension and other life-threatening illnesses.

This also means that you can keep your healthcare expenses down, allowing you to have sufficient finances for other commitments like bill payments or pleasures like travel.

Live for the future

Above all, staying fit and healthy is about your longevity. It means having more time to achieve your life goals, be it succeeding in your studies and career, or establishing your own business.

Accomplishing this, however, requires prioritising and being responsible for your own health and wellbeing.

So, eat right, get moving, sleep well and don’t take your health for granted.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2Bj3O69

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather